My cardinal rule when it comes to fandom is “whatever floats your boat, honey”. In Filipino, there is a saying, “walang basagan ng trip“, literally, “no breaking/crushing of trips”. In other words, respect one another’s preferences and quirks. Of course, it’s not all the time that things among fans are pleasant or agreeable. But I always think of this rule whenever I encounter something that ranges from amusing to vexing, but I just keep the eyerolls or the comments to myself (and I’m sure I have my share of eyerolls from non-Arashi fans whenever I spazz about them on Twitter). However, there may be times that I can’t help myself and express my opinion, because, well, I am opinionated that way.
Like, right now.
There are many kinds of fan and some are more annoying than others. We have heard of the sasaeng or the stans, then there are the delusional ones who talk to their idols on Twitter like they know each other or believe that they will end up marrying their idols. But there’s another kind of delusion that I hate most: those pretending to be their own idol.
Is it because their lives are so boring that they have to borrow someone else’s identity? Some say it’s just role-playing. Sure, it’s a game that they even have to bother setting up Twitter or Facebook accounts using the fake celeb identity. But what makes it worse is when other fans actually believe that they are the real thing. Do they get a kick out of that? And are they aware that’s tantamount to fraud?
This is just one of the side issues that came out from the recent ruckus on Facebook and LJ. Role play or not, this has brought to fore fandom culture and what happens when you “violate” it. The gist is, a couple of fans behind an “Arashi” Facebook page (it has since been removed or who knows if they have changed the url and moved to another page with the same fake identities) posted links and videos to Arashi’s POPCORN DVD, that will be released tomorrow, April 24. They took it from leaks provided by well-meaning fans. And did I mention that they really took their role-playing seriously and posted as if they were Arashi? When they were asked to take the links and videos down, one answered as “Sho” using an arrogant tone (they could have thrown in an umbrella for good measure). Perhaps, it was fun for them, but it wasn’t fun for the majority.
Yes, in the first place, it’s wrong for anyone to extract videos and post them online, but this has been the practice in many fan communities and it serves especially those fans who can never get hold of the merchandise, either because they’re too expensive or sold out or you can’t wait for your own copy to arrive or for some other reason. Of course, that doesn’t make it right because when it comes to business, the end does not justify the means.
However, many–including myself, because yeah, I can’t wait for my own copy to get shipped–are guilty of it. But the unspoken rule is, you enjoy those videos privately and not “share” them with everyone in public places, like Facebook or YouTube and have the people who own the copyright to those work come running after you. Because when that happens? There will be no more sharing. And it’s the community that stands to lose.
The generous fan who shared the “leaks” was so angry, and rightly so, because she could get into trouble. And she had good intentions in doing it because see, in any fandom, sharing is caring. Unfortunately, there are some selfish ones among us who think nothing of the consequences from their reckless acts.
Someone pointed in another Arashi-related FB page that the people behind “iL0v3AraShI” were not the first ones to do it but why were they getting flak for it? That’s a valid point, but I suppose, it didn’t help their case that they continued with their own fun without pausing to think that more than anything else, they were reflecting badly on Arashi and the fandom, known for being a fun place where fans do not just spazz, but share laughter over the dorks’ latest episodes and even the uasas involving them.
My exasperation stemmed more from how arrogant the people behind that FB page were even after the incident. And worse, they kept up with the role-play which was not only delusional but harmful to the very people they were doing pretend-play of. Role-play by all means–and if you want to do it with popcorn heads to boot–but know when to stop.
And now, I’ll stop with my rant.
This post goes well with BLACK tea, and lots of ice, onegaishimasu.
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